With conditions at the 2018 Gotland Grand National incredibly cold and muddy it was no surprise that Swedish riders swept the overall podium. Claiming his first GGN victory, Albin Elowson was joined on the podium by fellow countrymen Robert Kvarnstrom (Yamaha) and Ken Bengtson (Husqvarna).
After a rough first lap, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Billy Bolt recovered well to finish 13th overall and maintain his overall lead in the WESS championship standings with one round remaining.
Renowned as the world’s largest Enduro race, over 3000 riders competed in this year’s Gotland Grand National – round seven of WESS. Friday kickstarted the proceedings where up to 600 Hobby riders enjoyed near-perfect conditions. However, the weather turned and from Friday evening onwards the rain fell hard on the Scandinavian circuit, ensuring that the 35th GGN would be remembered as one of the wettest in history.
As the Elite, Senior and Junior class riders blasted off the start line at 12.30pm, thousands of riders jostled for position in the mud. Clearing the early carnage safely, Elowson moved into the race lead on lap one followed by Kvarnstrom. The duo then went head-to-head, pushing a pace that quickly saw them distance themselves from the ensuing pack. By midway, Elowson showed no signs of slowing down and pulled clear of Kvarnstrom to claim a convincing win at the end of the sixth and final lap.
Despite a late push by Kvarnstrom, the Yamaha rider had to settle for the runner-up position, while Bengtson rounded out the podium in third.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Taddy Blazusiak (POL) worked hard in the final stages of the race to claim fourth, while Sebastian Martensson (SWE) rounded out the top five.
For WESS the title contenders, Spain’s Josep Garcia crossed the finish line in 12th to slightly close the gap to series leader Bolt, who finished 13th. Although holding 25th with one lap remaining, a crash in the closing stages of the race pushed Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – Germany) back to 43rd overall.
With just the final round of the championship remaining, Bolt extends his advantage over Lettenbichler to 275 points. Garcia, in third, closes to within 445 points of the second placed Lettenbichler. Blazusiak’s fourth place result at GGN sees him move up to fourth overall, but more importantly he now sits just 25 points behind Garcia as the race to become this year’s ULTIMATE ENDURO CHAMPION soon moves to The Netherlands for Red Bull Knock Out.
Results – World Enduro Super Series, Round 7
Gotland Grand National
1. Albin Elowson (Husqvarna – SWE) 6 laps, 2:59:02; 2. Robert Kvarnstrom (Yamaha – SWE) 3:01:52; 3. Ken Bengston (Husqvarna – SWE) 3:03:38; 4. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 3:06:59; 5. Sebastian Martensson (Husqvarna – SWE) 3:08:33; 6. Johan Carlsson (Husqvarna – SWE) 3:08:42; 7. Calle Bjerkert (Husqvarna – SWE) 3:10:10; 8. Joakim Ljunggren (KTM – SWE) 3:10:44; 9. Oskar Ljunstrom (Husqvarna – SWE) 3:11:08; 10. Marcus Gothenberg (Husqvarna – SWE) 3:11:16; 11. Oskar Olsson (KTM – SWE) 3:11:17; 12. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 3:12:54; 13. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 3:14:24; 14. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 3:15:42; 15. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 3:16:16…
World Enduro Super Series Standings (After round 7)
1. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 4420pts; 2. Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 4145pts; 3. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 3700pts; 4. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 3675pts; 5. Wade Young 3220pts; 6. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 3103pts; 7. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 3092pts; 8. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 3010pts; 9. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 2900pts; 10. Lars Enockl (Gas Gas – AUT) 2272pts…
Photo Credit : Future 7 Media